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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

Gloves from bread bags
Sunday, February 06, 2011 | By richardpeeej

All my life I have been one of those people who hate waste. I try and find a use for many things that have 'worn out' or that can be used in a different way. One of the latest ideas that I had is that I have been saving the bags that bread come in. I have  collected quite a little pile of them now and was wondering what I could use them for. Well the other day I found a great use for them. I now use them as 'gloves' not to wear when I go out for the evening but for using them for little dirty jobs such as:-
1. collecting  the left over rubbish on the bird table
2. clearing the leaves out of a blocked drain
3. using them when I have a painting job to do
4 Cleaning out the rabbit hutch

The beauty of this is that once I finished using them I can turn them inside out and put them in the bin. This saves getting my proper gloves messy too

I am sure that there are many other uses for them too!

Richardpeej 2011

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Litter box from storage box container tub
Saturday, January 22, 2011 | By hoptownracer1

I was needing a litter box with higher sides than I owned.   I already had the Jumbo sided litter box, but was still having a problem with spillage above the top of the box.  (Is that a nice way to put it? lol.)  None of the litter boxes I saw in stores were tall enough, or had two pieces that fit together as a covered litter box.  As my friends had told me, they can still get fluid through the tiny cracks where the top and bottom fit together.    So I decided to try using the storage box container tubs that you can get for less than $5.00 at a large retail store.    I had to be sure it didn't have large grooves or details sticking up in the inside of the container as some of them do.

Using a hot knife to help cut through the plastic and a heavy utility knife.  *Be very careful; very easy to cut yourself,  I cut the shape out of the front.  I traced with a pencil where I wanted to cut before cutting, that way I could get it halfway straight.  (Used a folded piece of paper as a template.) 

The cats adjusted to it well.  I leave the top off.   Mine aren't used to a covered box. 

  

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Low Cost ways to Add Humidity inside a House without a Humidifier
Friday, January 07, 2011 | By gogalyboo

When the air in your home is being heated, it can get pretty dry and uncomfortable. But there are other things you can do to help add humidity when the air's drying out your skin, furniture, and woodwork.

Try the green idea’s below to make your home warmer and save on your energy bill. Some suggestions on how to add moisture to your home they are simple, and it will cost you just a couple of dollars up front, but in the end, it may save you money. See if it makes a difference in your home!!

Water:

  • ·         Add some houseplants to your home. Not only will you be moisture to the air simply by watering the plants(The plants can be watered weekly or misted daily.), but plants naturally add moisture to the air all by themselves. Plants recycle water by a process known as "transpiration."
  • ·         Decorate with bowls of water. Place a few around your house and the water will evaporate into the dry air. One step further, if you have radiant steam heat: place a water bowl on top of radiators to heat the water and aid in evaporation.
  • ·         Leave a pot of water on top of the stove when you have something in the oven. The top of the stove naturally heats up slightly when you are baking, which help the water in the pot will evaporate.
  • ·         Simmer a stock pot full of water, with a few drops of essential oil. (From the dollar store)Then, I turn it off & let it work. For head colds try tea tree oil & a bit of vinegar to the mix letting it simmer during dinner. At bedtime, put the pot in your bedroom for the night (making sure to put the pot out of the way and on a hot pad!!)...
  • ·         Fill a crock pot(from the thrift store) with water and keep it on low with the lid off. This is an especially good measure to take when you want added humidity during the night hours, and using a crock pot is much more energy efficient than boiling a pan of water on a stove top.

Bathing:

  • ·          Don’t use the exhaust fan while showering. Just keep the bathroom door open. Then the house keeps the moisture and warmer air in the winter months.
  • Baths leave the water in the tub after you've finished bathing. Letting it sit and cool completely allows more moisture to evaporate into the air than when you're showering.

Kitchen:

  • ·         Cook on the stovetop. Not only is this a cozy practice during cold winter weather, it also releases moisture into your home's air. If you're cooking something that can be done either on the stovetop or in the oven, opt for the stovetop when the air is dry. The oven dries the air out even more, but the stovetop adds much-needed moisture.
  • ·         Open your dishwasher to dry dishes. The steam from the dishwasher will be released into the air improving the percentage of humidity in your house.

Laundry:

  • ·         You should first WASH your clothes and THEN hang them to dry throughout.  Hang your clothes to dry throughout the house. Towels are especially good. This tip not only adds humidity to the air in your home, but will also save money on your energy bill. It may be a tad unsightly for a couple of hours, so I usually do it late evening or at night.
  • ·         Purchase some of the simple over-the-door clothes hangers, and place them on your doors. I like to place them on bedroom doors for added moisture in the bedrooms. When hanging garments up, hang them in the room where they belong, and unless they need ironing, they will be ready to be put away.
  • ·         Your laundry room is an area that can make a big difference in your humidity levels. Your dryer has moist heat. Take advantage of this and add humidity to the air in your home with this simple tip. Disconnect the dryer tube to the vent to the outside of your home. While the tube is disconnected, take this opportunity to thoroughly clean out the tube and remove any lint or debris. Secure a knee high or piece of pantyhose over the open end of the tube. Allow the moist heat from the dryer to help heat your home while adding moisture to the air. (Some suggest venting your dryer into your home, rather than outside. Unless you purchase a home venting kit, which prevents excess moisture from entering the room anyway, this is not a great idea. Dust particles, pet hair and fabric softener fibers can enter the air and irritate allergies.)

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A Brand New Year
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | By M

The New Year is right around the corner.  I started an experiment about a year ago, to try and live totally frugal, cheap, free.  I have always been a thrift shop, garage sale baby.  Being a single parent, money has always been tight, very tight.  Using the thrift shop, garage sales for whatever I could find to cloth, feed and outfit my home.   I tried to engage the help of my husband, but he was unwilling to participate.  So I alone travel on this journey and in the process, I discovered a few things about myself.  Some things good, some things not so good.  Here is my list.

 

1. I discovered that I am greedy.  I see something and I want it all.  Not just some, but all.  Especially if the item in question is free.  Some of my friends have taken notice of this side of me.  I happen to work at a school.  Sometime they will give away old material, that they used in the classroom.  I will just grab it.   All of it.  Being able to recognize this trait, has made me slow down.  I do not like this side of my personality.  Not at all.  But I have snagged some great items.

 

2.  Sometimes getting things free, does not always make it a bargain.  Spending extra gas money(not worth the effort just to save a few pennies), printing coupons(ink cartridges are expensive) Buy bulk(no storage space), buying food(that no one will eat).  Don't let me get started on going green.  I am all about saving the planet, I just can't afford to.

 

3. I have learned how to make new soap, extend my fabric softener sheets(by cutting them in half.  I water down my detergent, make my own face and lip scrub, use half of my shampoo and other cost saving methods to cut my budget even further.

 

4.  I have gotten over 85 % of my craft items for little or nothing.  When new inventions come out, people have a tendency to throw away, or sell their old items.  I have a barrel full stamps to make cards, and pictures. 

 

5.  And last but not least, I have learned to do without.  I have joined free cycle and have given away several items, I donate about as much as I collect.  I admit, I was something of a hoarder, but now this experience has opened my heart and my fist.  I like seeing the face of someone when I give them something that I have collected, or made with my own hands.   I am not using my talents to teach class in crafts, computer and jewelry making.  It should be a fun year

 

All in all, it have been a fun year.  With its ups and downs.  Being frugal has taught me the real value of a dollar.  It is not what you have, it is what you do with it that counts.  

 

  Whatever words works.   I started off strong and tried to enlist my husband's help.  He refuse, so I traveled this journey alone.  I think I became a different person.  I was always trying to save money and have been a thrift shop baby for a long time.  But this challenge took me to new heights.  I have to say, I have not brought anything new for the past year.  I am very proud of myself.  I visit thrift shops, free clothes from local churches., just about anything I can get for free.  I have picked up some impressive items http://www.flickr.com/photos/jets_jewelry/-  mainly accessories.
 

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Super Simple Yogurt Cheese
Monday, July 26, 2010 | By begonia

This is my favorite versatile, low-calorie spread.  I use it on baked potatoes; as a dip served with pretzels, rice crackers, or vegetables; for breakfast on bagels; and for lunch spread on Wasa crisps and topped with tomato or sprouts. I like its tangy taste and its consistency—like whipped cream cheese. I especially enjoy making it in the summer when milk prices are low and I have plenty of fresh herbs in the garden to choose from

One of the best things about this cheese is that it is very easy to make! It takes no special equipment or procedures, so you probably have the necessary items to make it in your kitchen already. All you need is a colander, a large bowl, a basket-style coffee filter, plain yogurt, and salt and herbs to taste.

  1. Put the colander in the bowl and the coffee filter in the colander.
  2. Fill the filter with plain yogurt. You can make your own yogurt (See my blog, “Slow Cooker Yogurt” 7-24-2010, or you can buy it from a store. A quart of yogurt makes about 2 cups of the finished product.)
  3. Leave the bowl with the colander and yogurt on the counter or put it into the refrigerator to drain.
  4. Pour off the whey that collects in the bottom of the bowl periodically for about 8 to 12 hours or until it stops dripping.
  5. Turn finished cheese into a smaller bowl and blend in herbs and salt with a fork.  (My favorite combination is garlic, chives, and salt!)
  6. Cover and refrigerate.

 

Try making this simple cheese today! Begonia

   

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Slow Cooker Yogurt
Saturday, July 24, 2010 | By begonia

I love slow cookers. I own six of them in various sizes. All were purchased at less than bargain basement prices at various garage sales, with one exception. The slow cooker pictured was given to me as a college graduation present by my Mom and Dad—let us just say, “Long Ago.” I’m never happier than when I find a new (to me at least) use for a slow cooker!

I’ve been using a slow cooker to make yogurt lately. In the summer, we use quite a bit of yogurt in smoothies when fruit is cheap and plentiful. Those little containers of yogurt are pricey, but for the price of one single-serving container of plain yogurt, two quarts of milk (I use 1% milk), and the small amount of electricity a slow cooker uses, you can make 2 quarts of plain yogurt. Here’s how you do it!

First, pick out a two-quart or slightly larger slow cooker because that is how much milk you will be using (less milk smaller size cooker, more milk larger size cooker).

Second, pour two quarts of milk into it and put the lid on.  Cook on low for the next three hours.

Third, when the three hours have passed, unplug or turn off the crock pot (leave the lid on) allow the milk to cool for two to two and a half hours or until the milk reaches 90-113°F. (I use a yogurt thermometer from one of my electric yogurt makers.) Then whisk a single-serving container of plain yogurt (about 6-8 ounces) into the warm milk.

There are live cultures in all yogurt, but plain is best because there are no coloring or flavorings that make it harder for these cultures to grow.  If you use a soft yogurt like Yoplait, you will have a soft end-product; if you use a firm yogurt like Dannon, you will get a firmer end-product.

Fourth, put the lid back on the slow cooker and wrap it in a couple of big towels. Let stand at least 8 hours or overnight.

I’ve been pretty pleased with the results. I use one quart to make a very simple yogurt cheese and most of the other for smoothies, with the last 6-8 ounces reserved to start the next batch. Try this method out for yourself—I’d love to hear how it works for you! Begonia

    

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2 LITER BOTTLE DECORATION
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | By Robyn Fed

I always cut up my plastic coke bottles to make them take up less room in the landfill. This is what I came up with the other day, and I am going to make a decoration out of it... here are some ideas:

  • Put a stamp collection of stickers or stamps on it
  • Glue rhinestones on it
  • Color with permanent markers

I cut the bottle into a continuous ribbon and it curls and twirls. I am left with the top which makes a good funnel, and the bottom which makes a good little carry along water bowl for doggies.

 It would probably scare away birds from the cars the way our fake snakes on the hoods of our cars and chimes do during bird dropping season.  LOL

Robyn

   

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Drying Herbs at Home: 2009 AND 2010 Parsley
Sunday, May 09, 2010 | By begonia

I’ve been harvesting parsley for drying on My Little Farm in Town this week! I planted it last year from seed and transplanted it to form a border for my front walk. Last year, I harvested and begged everyone else to harvest it. (See my January 28 blog—Eggs, Parsley, and Barter)   Parsley is the ultimate cut-and-come-again herb. It’s easy to grow enough in your yard to supply your family’s needs for an entire year and save a little on your grocery bill in the process.  It is also an herb that easily makes it through the winter and comes again in the spring! It and chives are the first fresh herbs that I harvest each year.

I’ve been a tad late starting my seeds this year and am a bit short on garden space. So I’ve decided to harvest and dry parsley early and just grow a few plants this season for fresh use. 

Parsley is a biennial. It grows leaves the first year and flowers and goes to seed the second year. It will supply you with plenty of green until about May (in this hemisphere anyway) and then it bolts, and you dig it out and add it to your compost pile if you don’t intend to save seed. 

Parsley is one of the easiest herbs to dry. (Some sources claim that it doesn’t taste good when dried. I can only guess that they dried it at high temperatures, because my parsley always tastes fine.) I harvest when the dew has dried off the plants by breaking or cutting the stems a couple of inches from ground level.  I then cut the leaves from the stems with my trusty kitchen scissors right into my drying trays. I don’t wash them. If a stem is too soiled, I add it to my compost bin.  Parsley doesn’t take long to dry—when it is crunchy, it is done. (Be sure to let your test leaf cool before trying to crumble it.) If you have a simple convection dryer like mine, be sure to rotate the trays every couple of hours. Store the dry parsley in an airtight container in a dark, dry, cool place. If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh parsley,  you can substitute one teaspoon of your dried product.

I picked up my dryers for $5 each at garage sales, but you can often find them at thrift stores or buy them new if you have the funds. I prefer the dryers without fans and thermostats. I mainly dry fruits and vegetables so it is not a problem.  These simple driers are usually cheaper and work just as well for my purposes. Some herbs like basil I prefer to air dry out of the sun (always) because it is so easy to cook them and lose all their volatile oils.

Other ways to dry herbs include  hanging them in a dry, dark place; drying on screen frames outside; and drying on trays (always protected from direct light) in your car, in a gas oven with the pilot light lit, or in an electric oven with the door closed and the light on, or even in the microwave oven!

The moral of the story is—Don’t pull that parsley in the fall. Let it overwinter and feed you for another season! Begonia.

   

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MY THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Friday, April 30, 2010 | By creativefia01

My Days thoughts

 

#

 

Heroes

 

IF I WENT TO THINK OF A HEROES I CANT THINK OF NONE AT THIS MOMENT .CAN'T SAY I KNOW ONE BUT THE WISDOM OF LIFE AND THE HOPE OF FAITH WE ALL NO WHEN WE ARE IN NEED ITS JUST THE CALL OF FAITH IN KNOWING THAT SOMEONE MUST BE OUT THERE !!!!!! WHEN I LOOK AT THE SKY ITS FULL OF WONDER AND HEROES WITH IN USE ALL.

Webfetti.com

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Cheap inexpensive cat dog house shelter igloo
Thursday, April 15, 2010 | By hoptownracer1

Having several cats that needed a place to sleep that was their own, I adapted a Sterilite storage container into a little shelter for them.  *Please note-These have to be in a protected area that does not get rained upon or wet or harsh weather.  They are not waterproof.  Water will collect and get into them if not stored in a roofed or dry area.  We currently keep ours in our storage room that is in our carport.  The door to the carport has a square opening cut out, so that the cats can come and go from the sheltered area as they please.  We have ours sitting upon brick landscaping squares to keep them off the floor and protect them even more from moisture.  They do have small plastic grooves in the bottom, so we are sure to insert cedar chips, foam bedding, towels or fleece to keep them comfortable.  All you do is cut an opening into the front of the sterilite container.  This is the hardest part.  *Caution: Be VERY CAREFUL!  It is really easy to cut yourself when trying to cut an opening in plastic this dense.  The plastic is very hard and difficult to cut.  I used a box cutter and a flat screwdriver to create the opening.  If you know someone handy with tools, they may have an easier way to create the opening.  After creating your opening, reattach the top, flip the container over (top on the bottom), and you have a cheap little shelter.  I don't think are substantial enough for a shelter in and of themselves, but they do help.  Then we insert some bedding, and the cats/dogs/pets have a nice place to lay.  I have another post where I post how to make a pet bed/bedding from an eggcrate mattress cover or foam.  Pets seem to like this. (Just make sure they are the type to try to eat their bedding!)

While the one I have pictured looks very crude.  It is functional.  In fact, this winter, we purchased the warming mats that warm when laid upon by the pet.  We put them into the plastic containers with nothing else in them, and snaked the cord out the back.  They worked fine.  I have found the storage containers for five dollars or less.   I make sure that I get a good sized one, where they can stand up comfortably, but small enough to conserve some of their body heat.  I also take duct tape in the winter, and duct tape a piece of thick fabric or fleece etc... to the front with a slit cut in it to block some of the cold air.  

   

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